Cleveleys woman says she was told dental appointment would take 14 weeks

A grandmother from Cleveleys says she was told by her dental practice it could take up to 14 weeks before she could receive treatment.

By Richard Hunt
Wednesday, 25th May 2022, 2:51 pm
Updated Monday, 30th May 2022, 8:42 am

Barbara Terry, 77, of Ellerbeck Road, was concerned when she lost part of her tooth after a dental post, fitted to keep it in place, appeared to snap.

She is also worried about receding gums and the possibility of losing more teeth.

But Barbara says when she rang her dental practice, the BUPA Dental Care Practice on Cleveleys Avenue, in Cleveleys, she was told it was likely she would have to wait between 12 and 14 weeks to be treated.

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Barbara Terry has been told she could have to wait 14 weeks for a dental appointment

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Barbara said: “I swallowed my tooth and I’ve been left with a big gap in my mouth.

"I am also worried about the rest of my teeth. My gums are receding and I don’t want to lose any more teeth.

"I have always tried to visit the dentist and the dental hygienist fairly regularly.

Barbara Terry, who lost a tooth after a supporting post broke, has been told she could have to wait 14 weeks for a dental appointment

"When they told me how long it might take I couldn’t believe it, I have never had to wait that long.”

Barbara said she phoned back two weeks ago to see if there was a chance and getting in sooner, but says she was told to phone back next month.

Although the practice takes private patients, Barbara is on its NHS list.

She added: “It’s not as if this is just a check-up, I’ve lost a tooth and my gums are not great.

"I shouldn’t have to wait this long to be seen by a dentist.

"My worry is that dentists be trying to get rid of NHS patients and get everyone to go private – and then it will get harder for people like me to see one.

"I’ve only got my pension.”

Earlier this month, Healthwatch England said people across the country were living in pain because they were unable to get access to NHS dentistry.

The watchdog said the problems included a reduction in the number of NHS places at dental practices, coinciding with the soaring cost of living.

The NHS body, which represents patients, said that in the worst cases, some people were living in pain and unable to eat properly, because they could not find treatment, and those who could not afford private treatment were suffering the more.

The Covid pandemic is said to have added to the crisis by causing appointment delays.

A Bupa Dental Care spokesperson, said: “We are unable to comment on individuals’ clinical care.

“The dental sector across the UK has been experiencing challenges with workforce shortages.

"The Cleveley practice currently has two longstanding vacancies for NHS dentists, and despite our best efforts, it is very challenging to find NHS dentists for these roles.

"At present the practice has one NHS dentist working 3 days a week, making patient access to NHS appointments limited.

“We will do our best to offer the patient an appointment at the earliest opportunity.”